Star Trek 1 (April 1980)

Star Trek #1

It’s going to be difficult to talk about this one. Not because there’s anything particularly wrong with this first issue of Marvel’s adaptation of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. In fact, there might not be anything wrong with it at all. I suppose the art could be better, but Dave Cockrum and Klaus Janson do all right. Cockrum loves doing some of the space panels.

Then there’s how they draw William Shatner. As opposed to drawing him like it’s really the Kirk of the movie, they draw him more like the Kirk of the TV show. It’s kind of cool.

This issue came out some time after the movie came out and Marv Wolfman’s script almost exclusively uses dialogue from the film itself. It plays less like a promotional material and more like something for a movie fan to take home since sell-through VHS wasn’t around yet.

It’s perfectly fine.



Star Trek: The Motion Picture; writer and editor, Marv Wolfman; penciller, Dave Cockrum; inker, Klaus Janson; colorist, Marie Severin; letterer, John Costanza; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Empire of the Dead 3 (May 2014)

Empire of the Dead #3

Not much happens this issue; the smart zombie gets away at the end, there are other smart zombies out there, lots of dumb vampires doing stuff to get themselves found out. While he was hiding the vampires, Romero used them sparingly. This issue it’s different. They’re everywhere. The human characters from the first couple issues are practically just cameos.

The big problem with the vampires is they’re boring visually. Romero doesn’t do much with them. They attack some girl, then dump her body. Twice in one issue. The girl’s not even a character. Maleev can’t make anything exciting out of such a bland event. Worse, Romero’s doing lots of politics stuff with the other vampires.

How exciting, vampires running for mayor. It’s like “Spin City” only with vampires and not funny at all. Or even interesting.

The art and some of Romero’s ideas keep it going, but just barely enough.



Writer, George A. Romero; artist, Alex Maleev; colorist, Matt Hollingsworth; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, Jake Thomas and Bill Rosemann; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Stray Bullets 7 (November 1995)

Stray Bullets #7

It’s more adventures of Ginny, the girl with the terrible mother–not like “ha ha” terrible, but like abused one. Her dad gets cancer. Her dad who literally has to protect her from her mother and her sister. So the scary part is his leaving her, which Lapham sort of ignores.

Instead, he goes through day after day of the father getting worse and Ginny watching from the hallway. She’s totally inactive in the second half of the comic–I’m also confused about the passage of time, but whatever. It’s a wrenching experience as one goes through it, even if Lapham never tries to get it to add up.

It appears Amy Racecar would be a story Ginny writes, though Lapham never draws too much attention to it.

It’s like Lapham’s toying with giving Stray Bullets a main character. It might not be the best idea. Ginny’s sympathetic, but thin.



Freedom!; writer, artist, and letterer, David Lapham; editor, Deborah Purcell; publisher, El Capitán Books.

Stray Bullets: Killers 2 (April 2014)

Stray Bullets: Killers #2

Lapham calls back big time to the original Stray Bullets this issue. He works it in as background, very, very discreet background. His expository dialogue is good enough a new reader could walk right in. The neat part of not going overboard with a callback is it doesn’t make the comic seem too forced. It feels far more organic.

The story concerns a teenage runaway who stops in with her aunt. The aunt’s got some problems going on, the runaway’s got some problems going on, but there’s this wonderful sense of history between the two women. Lapham infers it all, both through his composition and the dialogue.

There are complications–the girl meets a boy, the uncle is nearly catatonic–and Lapham does work his way to a sensational finale. But the things along the way are even better. He’s writing these fabulous scenes between his characters; good plotting is just gravy.



Sweet Jane; writer, artist and letterer, David Lapham; editors, Karen Hoyt and Maria Lapham; publisher, Image Comics.

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